I want to tell you about love. It has been my mission the last several years to learn unconditional love for all, including myself.
If you go to my blog and read the first entry you will see it was on my birthday four years ago that I prayed to learn this. I really asked for it!
I prayed in Amma’s lap, “Please let me know unconditional love for everyone…” and Amma took my face in her hands and laughed.
I thought, “Uh-oh.”
When we pray for patience, we will experience circumstances that try our patience. We learn patience by being stretched.
So when we pray to learn to love everyone unconditionally, what do you think we get? Do we get easy relationships? Or will we have challenges? And opportunities to forgive over and over again?
And will we find our own lives going smoothly and successfully so that it will be easy to love ourselves as well? Or will Spirit show us how hard it is to love ourselves when our lives do not go smoothly? Will we love ourselves even when we don’t succeed?
I am not going into any sordid details and I’m not pointing a finger outward because I asked for it. I wanted to learn and I received the greatest teachers…myself included!
This last year life became even more challenging than usual.
I couldn’t teach anymore, I felt tired, I needed to pull back on my work, I gave up my apartment, my two oldest daughters moved out, my friend died, and I have been transient since January, etc., etc. Okay you get the picture. When things like this happen, we tend to get really down on ourselves.
When we are down, it’s good to have friends who still love us. And I appreciate all the love and support I received. (Thank you for the emails, notes and phone calls to everyone who reached out…)
But what if you don’t love you? Then you won’t believe anyone else can either.
If you don’t love yourself first, the love you seek outside will never be enough to satisfy you.
I was only letting a little trickle in, instead of the bucket loads Spirit wanted me to receive.
No one else can help us, love us, encourage us enough until we start believing we are worthy and truly love ourselves inside and outside and upside down. In the good times, and in the hard times.
We all need and deserve love no matter what we do…or don’t do.
And that was why pushing through love was really important during this difficult time in my life. I had to keep loving myself despite feeling like a failure. I had to stop all self blame, no more negative self talk, no sabotaging myself. The lesson was to absolutely love myself no matter what was happening around me.
Every time I felt rejected by someone else, or some experience felt painful, something inside me said I wasn’t loveable. That life wasn’t loving and I would never be loved.
And I fought back. Prayers, affirmations, and mirror work.
Yes, I do all the same homework I dish out…and I do it double time!
And the hard work paid off on my birthday this past June. Four years from the day I prayed for it, I got my birthday wish.
When I woke up on June 28th my very first thought was, “I AM free!”
Pain and heartache were magically lifted away. I no longer felt angry, upset, rejected, disappointed or unloveable. I felt free.
And behind that thought was an overflowing current of unconditional love – for myself first. And for everyone else in my life immediately after.
I felt a love that kept growing for everyone throughout the day, the next week and it still continues.
And now loving myself is easier.
I have had moments of it before. There are those moments of freedom we experience after meditation. Sometimes days of awareness after a spiritual event. We shift up, but slowly we come back down when we reenter our daily world.
Sometimes we love ourselves more when we have done a good job, a good deed or received positive feedback from another. But that kind of self love is conditional.
So now, as of my birthday, my love for myself, is there even when I make a mistake. And I am grateful I am not shifting down anymore.
I am staying in gratitude for the new view. I am appreciating it even more after a very difficult year. All the facts and circumstances remain the same, but the freedom is here to love myself through the difficult times.
No longer am I berating myself for my weaknesses.
Instead I am congratulating myself for this amazing gift of loving.
I feel like I am on the other side of what was a difficult river to cross. I am sitting on the shore of true love and it feels good. I am looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “I love you!” everyday without feeling foolish.
And I am telling my clients, student and friends to do it, too. Look into your eyes and tell yourself all you need to hear.
Look in the mirror and say, “It’s going to be okay. I’m here for you. I will love you no matter what! I’m always here for you! You are beautiful and I think you’re great!”
Whatever else you need to hear, say it!
It sounds so simplistic and idealistic maybe. But I think this is the most important work we can do right now.
It is from this place, of loving self, that we can truly begin to say, “I love you,” to another and understand what that is.
In this space of loving self, we discover our oneness with everyone else. We suddenly realize that we cannot love another until we love ourselves, because we are one and the same.
And on the flip side we can’t help but love everyone when we love ourselves, because there is no separation.
To know this is one thing. To experience it is bliss.
And it is the greatest birthday gift I have ever given myself!
Now, what shall I ask for next year?